Optimization of product development to establish a best-in-class R&D setup within the global automotive headlamp industry

Ralf Klädtke


Together with 3DSE, we set the direction to optimize our R&D setup with the ZKW Lean Engineering Program (LEP) for the long-term transformation to best-in-class of complex premium lighting and electronic systems.


Ralf Klädtke, CTO
ZKW Group

The international ZKW corporate group is a leading strategic partner worldwide in the automotive industry and a specialist for innovative premium lighting and electronic systems. The company closed another record year in 2018, increasing its consolidated corporate sales to more than EUR 1.34 billion. At the same time, the headcount of the corporate group grew to just under 9700 employees at the end of 2018.

To stay at the top of technological development and ensure its long-term competitiveness, ZKW is taking on the challenge of boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of product development despite increasing product complexity.

To master this challenge, it is necessary to transform the R&D setup, in terms of development costs, lead times, and total life cycle costs, into best-in-class within the global automotive headlamp industry. Using the 3DSE R&D optimization approach, an interdisciplinary team quickly analyzed the current situation at ZKW, selected the most promising action areas, and drew up an optimization roadmap. The objective of the resulting Lean Engineering Program (LEP) is to sustainably lean down the current product development process and master the rising product complexity.

“Thanks to the expertise of 3DSE in the areas of systems engineering and lean engineering as well as the incorporation of best practice approaches, we were able to develop an integrated concept for a future-oriented R&D setup,” says Ralf Klädtke, CTO of the ZKW Group.“We are also counting on 3DSE for the pilot and implementation phases to ensure a sustainable rollout.”

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